When defense-policy website DoDBuzz sought to put together a year-end retrospective of defense and acquisition news, the theme that quickly emerged was âdeclining budgets.â
But, aside from the moribund fiscal situation, which will certainly rank at the top of many end-of-the-year lists, the past 12 months have also featured a number of other notable events in defense.
The top defense story of 2010 is undoubtedly the round of efficiencies initiated by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, which has roiled the Pentagon as well as government contracting ever since the policy was announced in August. Gatesâ plan, to cut $100 billion in overhead costs from the Pentagonâs budget and repurpose it within DoD, had industryâs ears pricked from the beginning.
âWhile previous plans to bring significant alterations to the defense-contracting budget were struck down by the private sectorâs immune system of industry lobbyists and legislative challenges and clouded by logistical issues,â GovConExec magazine wrote shortly after the efficiencies were announced, âthere is a prevailing sense across the business that Gatesâ demands for cutbacks are not a drill.â
And, the twists and turns of DoDâs budget over the year, if nothing else, proved that.
DoDBuzz also identified âall things Afghanistanâ as being on nearly all defense watchers’ radar screens: from the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Gen. David Petraeus taking the helm, to the debates about troop withdrawals and drone strikes.
Finally, a key take-away from the year was the updating of the national security strategy. Â Released in May, the new strategy aimed to provide a 21st-century framework for the nationâs defense posture and also identified economic wellbeing as essential to long-term national security goals.